They say honesty is the best policy. That’s usually the case but in gospel music, artists are sometimes tempted to gloss over the issues they have and get on the stage. Last night’s Premier Gospel live show was a refreshing change where the headline artists, Sarah Téibo and Lisa McClendon were very candid in the issues they have overcome.
The Lisa McClendon set we saw was a very different one to what we experienced in Birmingham in 2009. Here, she told stories, not just lyrically but vocally. There was a sense that she had been through a lot but lived to tell the tale. Depression isn’t an issue that anyone would want to take lightly but she was clear in telling us that she’s come out of the other side.
The performance itself? Brilliant. More soul than you can shake a stick at, and even a bit of reggae thrown in for good measure. Lisa started off with Hey Now from her album Soul Music. As she moved into Thank You and Pause (one of our faves), it was clear that she didn’t want to rush through the songs. It was a live band rather than backing tracks so she had a lot of freedom and breathing space to do what she wanted. The whole set benefited as a result.
The band was amazing. It was smooth, laid back and worshipful all at once. The neo-soul sound that we love Lisa McClendon for shined through.
Sarah Téibo wasn’t billed as a support act but a double header main act. She took to the stage just before Lisa McClendon. That in itself was a triumph. As a British artist who has only just broken through with her debut album, being a main part of a sold out show is extraordinary.
Even from the way Sarah’s backing vocalists marched on to the stage, we knew she meant business. She looked and sounded so at home on the stage. This was a big opportunity to showcase her album. We’ve already talked about why we like the project. It was a well put together set that worked perfectly on the night. Highlights included her very touching and personal songs Keep the Faith and I Long For You.
It would be impossible to go without mentioning New Day. She performed the Singers’ Remix of the track and got the incredibly talented Becca Folkes, Lurine Cato and Theophania Obeng on stage with her. It was a memorable moment.
The night ended with a surprise Lisa McClendon and Sarah Téibo duet of You Are Holy. It was flawless and highlighted one thing. Lisa McClendon is an established artist with ready made following but Sarah is a force to be reckoned with in her own right. Both are top drawer R&B artists but for Sarah Téibo in particular, the newcomer to the game, the future is bright.
Over to you – Were you there? What did you think?